Jaguar XF SE review:

Jaguar XF SE

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Typical Price: £30,950.00
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4 stars

CNET Editors' Rating

5 stars 1 user review

The Good Attractive styling; Updated Bowers & Wilkins audio system; Impressive economy.

The Bad Not very fast; Initially confusing graphical user interface.

The Bottom Line The Jaguar XF SE is cheap to run, relatively cheap to buy and packs some impressive new technology.

Visit manufacturer site for details.

8.3 Overall

Since its 2008 arrival, the Jaguar XF has established itself as one of the best executive saloons on the market. Sadly, it's a car that often proves expensive to run, due to its use of large, relatively thirsty engines.

Fortunately for the tight of pocket, Jaguar's 2012 range of XFs include the brand-new XF SE -- a model aimed at a wider (read: less rich) audience. It's powered by the company's third-generation, 2.2-litre, i4 diesel engine, boasts an eight-speed gearbox and has a new stop-start system. All of which is designed to improve economy and reduce emissions.

We spent a couple of days with the XF SE, priced at £30,950, to see how it compares to the XF Diesel S and XFR supercharged models.

The cat's whiskers

The new XF range, which consists of the new XF SE, XF Diesel S and XFR, has been blessed with a host of aesthetic changes for 2012, all of which improve the car's appearance. Its headlights, which are styled to mimic those of its big brother, the XJ, are now more cat-like than ever and feature slick-looking day-running LED lights.

The XF's front grille is now larger and more aggressive-looking, and the lower air intakes are dissected by chrome blades that look as if they were inspired by the front wing of a Formula One car. The rear lights have been given a spruce up too, and have bright, attractive C-shaped LEDs that really are things of beauty.

These tweaks don't change the car's overall aesthetic dramatically, but they help improve on what was already a very attractive vehicle.

Muddled menu

While the new XF's interior hasn't changed, it does feature a brand-new entertainment and information system. Out goes the trusty Flash-based touchscreen interface of the previous models and in comes a system based on the one found in the Jaguar XJ.

The new touchscreen interface isn't quite as intuitive as before but it's much prettier.

It's not, at first glance, as easy to navigate as the outgoing system, thanks to a slightly confusing menu layout. The main menu, for example, has 'navigation' and 'take me home' options sat adjacent to each other, when logic dictates the latter option should be a sub-option of the first.

After spending time with it, however, it does become second nature, and you'll appreciate the clear, high-resolution graphics and the wealth of previously unseen features the new system brings with it.

Feature presentation

For the first time in an XF, it's possible to play streaming audio from an MP3 player or mobile phone that supports the Bluetooth A2DP profile. If that's not your cup of tea, the car also allows music to be played via other sources, including DAB, AM and FM radio, USB mass storage and CD.

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